Soccer France Ligue 1 Prediction
Auxerre vs Lens - Match Preview
⚽ 3 June 2023 - 19:00 GMT +0
Auxerre’s 1-1 draw with Toulouse lifted them two points above the bottom four, but their inferior goal difference means they must match or better Nantes’ final day Ligue 1 result to avoid relegation. Breaking their current six-match winless league sequence (D3, L3) with a victory will be their target as it’s the only way to guarantee no immediate return to Ligue 2 regardless of results elsewhere.
But after losing here 2-1 to PSG earlier this month, they haven’t won a home league game since mid-April (D2, L1), so hosting Lens, who they’ve only beaten once in a home H2H since March 2007 (D4, L4) will almost certainly be a challenge. One thing’s for sure, after beating St Étienne on penalties to earn promotion last season, another nerve-jangling evening awaits Auxerre fans!
Lens’ unexpected title challenge finally ended last week despite racking up six consecutive Ligue 1 victories, but on a more positive note, their 3-0 dismantling of Ajaccio did at least guarantee second place and UEFA Champions League football for the first time since 2002/03. That marks a stunning rise for Franck Haise’s enterprising side, who were in Ligue 2 alongside Auxerre as recently as 2019/20.
Although Lens now have nothing to play for, they’ll want to produce one more impressive performance to close out the season in style, looking to record three straight top-flight away wins for the first time since September 2021. It’s possible that doing so would provide a fitting farewell for the ambitious Haise, who has admitted his head has been turned by the idea of managing in the Premier League.
📋 Players to watch: Three of Lassine Sinayako’s four-goal contributions (G1, A3) for Auxerre this term came at home, so a fourth could be priceless in their battle to beat the drop. At the other end of the goalscoring spectrum, Loïs Openda will be seeking a club-record 21st league goal of the season for Lens, with five of the last six arriving before half-time.
⚡ Hot streak: Not since the 2011/12 season has a side starting matchday 38 outside the relegation zone gone down.
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